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November 1, 2005
Hand Off My Internet, Too

Erik over at GeekFun reports on the following immensely disturbing quote from Edward Whitacre, the CEO of SBC Communications, in response to a question about "internet upstarts like Google, MSN, Vonage, and others."

How do you think they're going to get to customers? Through a broadband pipe. Cable companies have them. We have them. Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?

The Internet can't be free in that sense, because we and the cable companies have made an investment and for a Google or Yahoo! or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes [for] free is nuts!

Business Week

As Erik points out, they should be allowed to use "his pipes" because his customers are paying for access to those pipes so that they can then access information and tools on the Internet. If no one was creating compelling content and useful web applications, Whitacre would have no pipes and no customers.

This kind of shit pisses me off quite a lot. This is exactly why the FCC really needs to encourage competition in broadband, instead of helping these companies consolidate their power until they can choke off anyone they want, even content providers. Completely unacceptable.

Personally, I'm glad I don't live in an SBC controlled area.

And another thing, while we're on technology companies and their shoddy treatment of customers—what's up with cell phone companies? I've been thinking recently that I'd like to upgrade my cell phone. The feature I want more than anything else is Bluetooth, so I can sync my contact info between my various computers and my phone, eliminating the current nightmare that is managing my extensive rolodex of influential and powerful names.

Since the cell phone companies treat prospective customers far better than current customers, the most financially sensible thing for me to do is switch carriers. I can get a free or practically free phone, I can keep my phone number, so there's really no downside. (Except that I have more friends and family on Verizon than I would on Cingular, for example, and I get free calls to them.)

This is why they advertise their networks and their "friends & family" plans so heavily. It's the only reason to care which company you use.

They also don't upgrade your plan minutes when they change the pricing. I pay $39.99 for 400 anytime minutes, while the current offer is $39.99 for 450 minutes. When my hosting company raises their storage limits for new customers, my storage automatically increases. Same with my broadband speed at home. When Comcast adds a cable channel to their lineup, I don't have to renew my contract to get access.

So, while the FCC is taking care of the broadband competition thing, they should tear the cell phone companies a new one, too.

End rant.


Previous Comments

Yeah....I read some articles in your 'blog'. Decent. I guess. Must of sucked that the Electoral College didn't turn out as well as you had hoped...
I would call you a loser and a freakin' bitch ass. Especially for always making fun of a President whose IQ is higher than Kerry's. And who puts miniorities like Rice and Powell in positions i am sure the Democrats have never. But you don't seem to be like the 'stereotypical' Democrat/Liberal. You didn't put down Reagan to bad and you seem to want to act in good behavior.
Anyways I have to go. Was just websurfing. But I'll be watching your site. Try not to seem like those 'liberals' you have in your party. As you don't like to be characterized by the few in the Democrat Party, try not to group us eitheir. If you blow this message off. Then that is just your bad. And ignorant at that. We'll see.
Republican Puppet
(just kidding)

What the Hell!!! Damn site... Freakin' made me look like a computer idiot.... Whatever. At least i know you got my message dude. Later.

Well said.
(just kidding)

yeah it's our internet - OUR in the sense that the socialistic tendencies of previous administrations and congresses were not squashed and they were able to obtain funding (albeit under the auspices of defense research) to build a network that would connect researchers, allowing them to share ideas across borders, around the world and, eventually, inevitably, surf porn.
That these fucking business idiots spout off about how they should be somehow able to wring more profits out of the network-providing business seems a tad tired to me.
Fuck 'em.
I say Re-Nationalize the Internet and have the gummint provide free wireless access to all.